Gratitude – Really?

Good friends, Peter and Annie, have a neighbour, a convicted paedophile, who is often verbally abusive to those who walk past his house. They have both suffered from him in the past and haven’t always responded in a way that reflects their Christian faith…

Recently Annie, walked passed this man’s house and was subjected to an unprovoked torrent of obscenities. Annie was shocked and exceedingly upset; Peter was very angry….

I have spoken to them both since yesterday’s musing; they have read about gratitude, but…

I am challenged. Is St. Paul’s ‘Give thanks in all circumstances’ realistic or possible?

Musing further on examples from the Biblical narrative:

Job sees his business and property destroyed, his twelve children killed in a freak accident. Choosing not to blame God or feel sorry for himself he thanks God: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

David’s new-born son had died, just a week old; instead of mourning he goes into God’s house and worships. Daniel, isolated in exile, prays and gives thanks to God three times a day.

In the lead up to Jesus’ final hours there’s no self-pity or resentment. Sharing his last supper with his disciples, he reflects on his imminent death and gives thanks to God.

This morning I’m musing on Stephen’s martyrdom (Acts 7)

  • Furious: The Jewish leaders are very angry with Stephen’s message and its implications
  • Faith: His faith keeps him strong in his speech and eventual death
  • Full of the Holy Spirit: Stephen’s strength comes from outside his own resources.
  • Forgiveness: Stephen’s final prayer is for the forgiveness of those killing him.

My response to Peter and Annie’s situation? Christian faith speaks of super-natural transformation, of forgiveness and gratitude, of the impossible becoming possible. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Super-human resources are required.

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